Court seeks Centre’s stand on cancer patient’s plea to take Covaxin as 2nd dose

Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sep 27, 2021 05:42 PM IST

The petitioner stated in his plea that he developed a severe reaction and was hospitalised for four days after receiving Covishield as the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and that he wants to take Covaxin as the second dose as per his doctor’s advice. 

The Delhi high court on Monday asked for the Centre response to a plea filed by a cancer patient, seeking instructions to authorities to allow him to get inoculated with Covaxin as the second Covid-19 dose instead of Covishield – which was administered to him as the first one. Mix and match of vaccines against the Covid-19 has lately been a topic of discussion, but the Indian government hasn’t provided any official nod on the same.

Mixing one dose each of Covaxin and Covishield vaccine against Covid-19 has not received any official nod from the central government yet.
Mixing one dose each of Covaxin and Covishield vaccine against Covid-19 has not received any official nod from the central government yet.

The petition has been filed by counsel Madhur Mittal – an Opdivo Nivolumab Cancer patient — who is currently undergoing immunotherapy. According to the plea, Mittal was inoculated with Covishield as the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in March – but developed a severe reaction soon after and was hospitalised for four days.

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The petitioner further stated that he wished to be fully vaccinated (with both doses of coronavirus vaccine), and owing to prior complications to Covishield administration and as per his doctor’s advice, he has been asked to be jabbed with Covaxin shot as the second dose. However, when Mittal tried to book a slot for the second dose as Covaxin on CoWin, he failed to do so as the web application only allows to book slots in the same Covid-19 vaccine category. This is the case with other coronavirus vaccines approved in India as well, including Covishield.

Also Read | 'Mix and match' of Covid-19 vaccines generate robust immune response: Oxford study

The petitioner mentioned in the plea that he wants to be fully-vaccinated as he wishes to fly to the US for the further treatment of cancer.

Mittal was represented in court by lawyers Nitesh Jain, Sanjay S Chhabra and Deepak Agarwal. Delhi High Court Justice Rekha Palli has issued a notice to the Centre asking for its reply and listed the matter for October 28. 

India is yet to take any stand on the mixing of Covid-19 vaccines, with studies currently underway in Christian Medical College in Vellore, Tamil Nadu to evaluate the results of mixing one dose each of Covishield and Covaxin. Earlier this month, Renu Swaroop, secretary of the Centre's department of biotechnology, had said that more data is required to get a better clarity on the mixing of coronavirus vaccines. 

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had in August revealed that mix and match of Covishield and Covaxin can produce better results. However, the deduction was achieved after a study was conducted on 18 individuals of Uttar Pradesh, who by mistake got two different vaccines. 

(With inputs from ANI)

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